Hiking the Northgate Peaks Trail

Zion National Park - Northgate Peaks Trail

The Northgate Peaks Trail takes hikers to viewpoints of some of Zion’s most dramatic scenery, high above the crowds below in Zion National Park.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:  4.3 Miles Round Trip
Trailhead(s):  Wildcat Canyon
Elevation Gain:  132’
Trail Type:  Out & Back
Dogs:  Not Allowed
Difficulty:  Easy
Permit Required?  No
Considerations:  Muddy Trail Due to Seasonal Rain or Snow
Season:  Late Spring Through Fall


Take a refreshing hike high above Zion’s amazing canyons and far from its crowds.


Enjoy the peacefulness of the meadows and forests of the Kolob Terrace as you make your way to stunning views of picturesque Great West Canyon and the stately North Guardian Angel.  The higher elevation of this family friendly trail generally also means a respite from the heat which gets trapped in the canyons below.  In the summer in southern Utah, that’s a good thing!

Wildcat Canyon & Northgate Peaks Trails

Start out on the Wildcat Canyon Trail walking through the flat meadow.  In spring and summer the wildflowers add color and interest, but since we hiked here in October the flowers were not part of our experience.  We were treated, instead, to quiet autumn breezes rustling through the hushed hues of the dry grasses surrounding the sandy trail.  We also had the whole thing to ourselves, and that’s not an easy feat in a national park.  Rest assured that even though both the Wildcat Canyon and Northgate Peaks Trails are somewhat sandy, this is an easy, family friendly hike.  Additionally, although Wildcat Canyon Trail out to the Northgate Peaks Trail is primarily flat and open with no noteworthy points of interest, things pick up on the Northgate Peaks Trail.

Great West Canyon & North Guardian Angel Views

On the Northgate Peaks Trail the tops of the sandstone peaks start coming into view, making things more interesting.  As you walk the next mile of trail the views get bigger.  Additionally, the trail becomes less sandy, gets rocky, and finally becomes completely rock.  Though less obvious to spot on the rocks, the trail does continue out to a superb vantage point overlooking the Great West Canyon and North Guardian Angel, so keep picking your way over and around them.  Have a seat and absorb the gorgeous views when you hit the end.  The contrast here between the volcanic rocks and sandstone, with distant views of Wildcat Canyon, is simply wonderful.  It’s got texture and color, which is something I find especially pleasing.  This is an out and back hike, so when it’s time to go just turn around and head back the way you came.


If the peacefulness of this hike and its amazing views are not reasons enough to leave the main attractions of the park and venture up here we’ll give you one more.  The drive.  It’s gorgeous.  Kolob Canyon Road has stunning views all the way up to the reservoir.  If you only have time for a short visit to Zion and have to make hard choices about the hikes, however, in all honesty this one may not make the cut because there are other hikes in Zion with bigger “wow” factors than this one.  This hike is really great, however, if you need a family friendly option or just need a peaceful break from the heat below and/or the crowds.  Even if this hike doesn’t make the cut, we strongly recommend taking a drive up here.  We were absolutely blown away by the beauty of the Kolob Terrace as seen from the road and think you will be too.

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

Additional Information

  • National Park Service:  Zion National Park Information Link
  • National Park Service:  Northgate Peaks Trail Information Link

Northgate Peaks Trail Slideshow

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Gear We Use for Day Hiking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

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Articles About Other Regional Outventures

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SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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